Education

BG schools to get state funding to improve safety

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than $12 million in grants have been awarded to Ohio schools to improve safety. All of Ohio’s public, chartered nonpublic, and schools operated by county boards of developmental disabilities will receive the greater of $2,500 or $5.65 per student to spend on school safety programs and training. Bowling Green City School District will receive $16,627. Other schools in the city will receive $2,500 each, including Bowling Green Christian Academy, Montessori School, St. Aloysius, and Wood Lane School. Schools will have the flexibility to use these grants for training for school resource officers, safety and security materials, and programs to identify and help students who may be struggling with their mental health. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said that school districts in the area haven’t received official word about the grants. However, Attorney General Mike DeWine sent out a press release on Friday listing the districts and the amount they would be receiving. “If there is money for us, we will use it,” Scruci said Monday morning. “As a board, that’s what we’re committed to.” Though the board will determine how the funding is spent, Scruci predicted it would be used either on safety training for staff or on installing more 3M film over glass doors at school buildings. The covering makes it more difficult for the glass to be broken enough to allow entry to a building. “It creates an obstacle for an intruder for two and a half or three minutes,” Scruci said. “The delay allows time to get people to safety.” The grants are funded with appropriations made by the Ohio legislature as part of House Bill 318. The law requires that participating schools and county boards work with law enforcement in their jurisdictions to determine the best use of the grant funding. School district are also being encouraged to take advantage of two new school safety efforts recently launched by the Attorney General’s Office: Active Shooter Response: An Educator’s Guide: This 25-part video series was produced by the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy to aid educators in preparing for and reacting to a potentially violent school incident, such as a school shooting. The brief videos are an update to the training offered by OPOTA beginning in 2013 that provided guidance to nearly 15,000 educators on how to intervene with students who could pose a danger and…


Sleek Academy won’t have to teach to state tests

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Erica Sleek believes that kids can learn far more by doing. The proof of that is in their enthusiasm, their inquisitiveness, and their creations – not the scores on some state-ordered testing. So Sleek, who has operated All About the Kids learning center for 13 years in Bowling Green, is expanding to offer preschool through high school education at the new Sleek Academy. The academy will practice the same theory Sleek has been using for years – project-based learning. When they are learning about space, they go to the BGSU planetarium. When they are learning about plants, they go to Klotz Greenhouse. When they are learning about produce, they go to an orchard, pick apples and cook up applesauce. “It’s getting them to figure things out themselves,” Sleek said. For example, the older students are in the process of researching how to build a walipini – an underground greenhouse. All About the Kids has had a garden over the years, but a walipini would allow for year-round fruit and vegetable production. The produce would be eaten by students, and the extras would be given to local food pantries, Sleek said. The students are involved in every step of the process. They researched how the garden is built. They wrote letters for seed donations. They are creating a kickstarter video. They are applying for the necessary city permit. And they even researched child labor laws. “They are pretty deep thinkers,” said Kris Westmark, assistant principal. Sleek Academy focuses on STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. But it takes those lessons a step further, Sleek said. “Part of STEAM is giving back to the community,” she said. “We want our students to know their community.” Recently, some of the older students did just that when they visited the Cocoon shelter for people affected by domestic violence. They learned about the services offered. “I was struggling to not cry,” Alexandra, a student, said. The students asked how they could help – and were told the Cocoon residents could use a picnic table for outside. “They had no chairs to sit on outside,” Sara said. “We started researching about abuse in general and how to build a table,” Duncan said. The students got some repurposed wood, and went to work. Isobel described how they used hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and crowbars. Once constructed, they painted…


Lazy days of summer are crazy days for school maintenance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Forget spring cleaning – summer is when schools get scrubbed down. During the lazy days of summer, school maintenance workers really get busy. When classrooms are emptied of students and staff, the Bowling Green School District maintenance workers can complete projects that just can’t be done during the school year. Chuck Martin, Bowling Green’s maintenance director, reported on the summer work schedule during last week’s board of education meeting. The lockers – that store everything from stinky gym shoes to moldy lunches – are thoroughly cleaned during the summer months. The classrooms – normally crowded with desks and chairs – are all emptied of furniture, Martin said. Floors are waxed, carpets are shampooed, and light tubes are replaced. Summer cleaning not only takes a lot of time, it also takes a lot of cleaning products, Martin said. The district goes through about 400 gallons of general cleaning solutions, 55 cases of bathroom cleaner, more than 100 gallons of floor stripper, and more than 200 gallons of floor wax. Though the regular school traffic is gone, there are some obstacles for maintenance staff, Martin said. All of the school buildings have some type of summer programming to work around. The high temperatures and humidity sometime create slow drying times. And maintenance has to work around summer construction repairs – such as new flooring at Conneaut and Kenwood this summer. Plus there are staffing issues, he added. Maintenance workers wanting to take summer vacations with families can lead to days of short staffing. And teachers sometimes often want to keep working on their rooms once school is out for the summer – and some like to get back into their rooms early before the new year begins. Summer is also the time for classroom moves. This summer, there were 23 room changes in the middle school, 10 at Crim, eight at Conneaut, plus a few more in the high school and Kenwood buildings. Maintenance staff also uses the summer to complete “work order” requests. There were 42 requests during the last month of classes, followed up by 81 more in the summer, Martin said. Also at last week’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Francis Scruci further reported on the district’s state report card. Bowling Green received an overall grade of “B.” Only 28 districts in the state received an “A.” Scruci said there is…


BG task force studies building blocks of school funding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News More than 50 citizens went back to school Wednesday evening to brush up on their math skills – specifically how the Bowling Green City School District can pay for building improvements. This first meeting – like all that consultant David Conley will hold – was an “open mic night.” The citizens on the task force rattled off questions they want answered as they dig into financing the school district’s future. Such as: What’s the difference between income and property taxes? What public-private partnerships are available to fund school projects, such as naming rights for private businesses? What legislation is in the works that could make a difference for BG schools? Are there public-public partnerships that could help BG schools, such as with Bowling Green State University, the city, the public library or through public health? Can different types of taxes be combined for projects? The monthly meetings of the financial task force are intended to give citizens the building blocks to help them make a decision that can then be presented to the school board. Conley explained some of the basics, such as – financing tools are the instruments used to borrow money. A funding plan is how the district can pay off that financing for a building project. “Schools only have a few financing tools available to them,” Conley said. But the funding options are far more plentiful, he added. “I want to give every opportunity a chance,” he said. That includes exploring the use of an income tax put on by the city but used to pay for school buildings. Or the sale of properties owned by the school district that are no longer occupied by buildings. Conley, of Rockmill Financial Consulting, has worked with about 125 school districts in Ohio to find funding solutions. He stressed to task force members that they are in control. “We’re in control of our own lives – especially when it comes to government. We just have forgotten that we are,” he said. The district’s request for open minds fell on a few closed ears. A handful of the citizens vehemently opposed to the last two bond issues talked about the district being deceptive in its use of permanent improvement dollars to put an addition on the middle school. Conley pointed out that permanent improvement funds can be used for projects like a building addition…


BG board advised to save money for teacher raises

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was schooled Tuesday evening to watch its spending – or when teacher negotiations roll around there won’t be enough for raises. Citizen Richard Strow warned that the $12 million in the bank right now should be maintained for teacher raises.  That $12 million, however, was the same money that some citizens criticized the board for not using on buildings earlier this year. The money in the bank was used as a reason for some voters to oppose the school levy. “You’ve got to find a way as a board to maintain what you have in the bank,” Strow said during the public comment portion of the school board meeting. Strow began his comments by thanking the board for changing the meeting times to 6 p.m., to make it easier for the public to attend. “It looks like a full house tonight,” he said. Strow also thanked the district for taking a conservative approach to delaying school due to fog. He recalled a fatal car accident on a foggy morning in 1972 that killed a fellow student. Strow suggested the board adopt that conservative approach with its budget. “You’ve got to get spending under control,” he said. “Otherwise the money is going to be gone.” After the board meeting, district treasurer Cathy Schuller said she shares Strow’s concerns. “He’s absolutely right. Those are the same concerns I have as well,” Schuller said. However, those concerns are based on the May budget numbers. The district updates its budget numbers every May and October, so new numbers will be available next month, Schuller said. Those numbers are expected to look much brighter, she said, explaining that the last district treasurer was “ultra-conservative” when forecasting the budget. Strow said the district will need that $12 million in reserves if it intends to offer pay raises of 2 to 2.5 percent. Negotiations with teachers will take place next spring. The district’s revenues appear flat for the next five years, but those raises will add another $500,000 to $750,000 to the annual expenses, he said. If the district isn’t careful, the board will have to ask voters more operating funds. And that could occur about the same time the district will be asking for more building funds. “It’s going to be a hard sell to the public,” Strow said, predicting “levy fatigue.”…


Grandparents find support raising their grandchildren

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The seven strangers sat around the table, not sure where to start. They had at least one common bond – they were all grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren. The reasons varied. Some parents relinquished the rights to their children because of addictions to drugs or alcohol. But regardless of the reasons, the grandparents – who thought their days of daily parenting were done – were now raising another generation of their family. Last week was the first of monthly support group meetings being held for “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” at the Wood County Educational Service Center. Most of the grandparents started their stories by apologizing for feeling lost or complaining about their unexpected return to parenting. Felicia Otte, a school and community based prevention specialist liaison with the educational service center, told the grandparents to stop apologizing. “You have every right to feel that way,” Otte told them. That opened the floodgates, relieving the grandparents from guilt, and allowing them to speak freely about their struggles with those who knew exactly what they were talking about. (Because none of them wanted their grandchildren to be embarrassed, they asked that their names not be used.) One grandma talked about raising four grandchildren. One has attention deficit problems, and the specialists haven’t found the right medications to work for him yet. “I get a lot of phone calls from school,” she said. Another woman has found herself in the “sandwich” generation. At the same time she is raising three grandchildren, she is also struggling with the fact that her own mother is slipping and needs to be placed in assisted living. Then was the woman who has raised her teenage grandson since he was a toddler. She was able to offer words of encouragement and support to those just starting the journey. The only grandfather of the group just recently had two grandchildren move in with him per a court order. “It could be till next week or it could be forever,” he said. Another grandma told of taking in her two grandchildren off and on for years. It was just over two years ago that she realized the children were often home alone and taking care of themselves – so she stepped in. Her story got even more complicated, with her daughter overdosing and dying about 18 months ago, her grandson starting…


BG school district sees growth in state report card

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This Bowling Green report card may make the refrigerator door. The state released its school report cards this morning – a moment that many districts await with great anxiety. Bowling Green City School District shows improvement in student achievement and gap closing for students. It also shows continued “A”s for progress and graduation rates. And overall, the district received a final grade of “B.” The state did not award overall grades last year. But if it had assigned grades, Bowling Green would definitely have scored lower last year, according to Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for BG Schools. Most importantly, Superintendent Francis Scruci said this morning, is the fact that the district continues to score high for student progress, and has shown improvement in closing the gaps for students. “We are showing progress and we are showing growth,” Scruci said. “We’re showing improvement and that’s the most important thing.” “Our goal is to make sure a kid grows at least one grade level every school year,” he said. “We’re doing straight ‘A’ work in that area.” The state report card gave BG City Schools an “A” for the growth of students from one year to the next. The district received a “B” for gap closing. That looks at how well the district meets expectations for vulnerable students in English language arts, math and graduation. “When you’re looking at measures that mean something, certainly those are areas that mean something,” Scruci said. Though there is plenty for the district to be proud of in the preliminary report, Scruci said he realizes there is still room for improvement. While B is a good overall grade, the district needs to keep aiming for an A. “Until we have that, we’ve got work to do,” he said. The district also scored two “D”s on the state report card. Scruci repeated his belief that the state report cards use a flawed system for scoring schools. “It’s a convoluted formula. It’s a formula with a flaw,” he said. At a special board meeting earlier this week, school board members questioned how the district could receive a grade of “D” in the “prepared for success” category – yet an “A” for graduation rates. That is just one example, McCarty said, of the flawed results in state testing. Bowling Green’s grade is hurt by the state’s metric…


Preliminary state report card shows reason to celebrate for BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green School Board got a sneak peek at the preliminary state report card for the district Tuesday morning. If that preliminary report holds, the district will have something to brag about – receiving an overall grade of B. The state did not award overall grades last year, said Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for BG Schools. But if it had assigned grades, Bowling Green would have likely been in the “D” or “F” range, maybe “C,” she said. “This is a great reflection on the work the curriculum staff is doing” and the teachers who implement the curriculum in the classrooms, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. Scruci added that he still believes the state report card system is far from rational. “I think it’s a flawed system,” he said. But even with all its flaws, Bowling Green City Schools is excelling – scoring repeated “A”s in the categories of progress and graduation rates. “When you’re looking at measures that mean something, certainly those are areas that mean something,” Scruci said. McCarty explained that the state report cards are a “snapshot of the overall grades.” She gave a preview of the preliminary grades at last month’s board meeting. At that point, she cautioned the board that the early results might be too good to be true. But this latest sneak peek looks even better – though McCarty stressed the grades aren’t certain until the official reports come out later this week. The preliminary snapshot viewed on Tuesday gave BG City Schools an “A” for the growth of students from one year to the next. The district received a “B” for gap closing, “which is fantastic,” McCarty said. That looks at how well the district meets expectations for vulnerable students in English, language arts, math and graduation. Though there is plenty for the district to be proud of in the preliminary report, Scruci said he realizes there is still room for improvement. While B is a good overall grade, the district needs to keep aiming for an A. “Until we have that, we’ve got work to do,” he said. Board members had questions about the grades, including how the district could receive a grade of “D” in the “prepared for success” category – yet an “A” for graduation rate. That is just one example, McCarty said, of incongruous results in state…


BG school board changes meeting times to make it easier for public to attend

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After multiple requests, the Bowling Green Board of Education voted unanimously this morning to change its meeting times to make it easier for the public to attend – at least for a trial period. The board held a special meeting this morning to handle some bookkeeping items, and discuss the proposed change to its regular monthly meeting times. “There has been some support to moving the board meetings to 6 o’clock,” board member Norm Geer said. The later meeting time would make it easier for those with jobs to attend. “It would allow them to observe the workings of the board.” Geer brought up the time change at last month’s regular board meeting, but the matter was tabled to give the board more time to get input from the community. The board has met at 5 p.m. for years in an effort to make it easier for school staff and administrators to attend meetings. Geer recommended a trial period for the time change. “My suggestion was that we try it for the rest of the year,” he said. So starting next week, on Sept. 18, the board meetings will begin at 6 p.m. Board member Bill Clifford mentioned an email from citizen Erin Hachtel that listed the meeting times for other school boards in Wood County. The vast majority start at 6 p.m., with only Perrysburg starting earlier at 5:30 p.m. “I’m open to the trial,” Clifford said. Geer said he expected to have public discussion about the time change at next week’s board meeting. “But most of those people know how to take ‘yes’ for an answer,” Geer said. Also at Tuesday’s special meeting, the board approved the hiring of Christine Kempf as assistant treasurer, with a base annual salary of $58,500. A total of 38 applicants expressed interest in the position, with eight being interviewed. Kempf, who is currently assistant treasurer for Fostoria schools, has 20-plus years of experience. Bowling Green School Treasurer Cathy Schuller said Kempf will be valuable in helping prepare for expected retirements next summer, and with cross training opportunities. “Her experience was outstanding,” Schuller said. “I have no doubt she’ll be a great addition.”


Chalk Walk competition changes format after cancellation

Though the Chalk Walk competition at the Black Swamp Arts Festival was canceled on Saturday, schools will still have a chance to compete. The organizers decided rather than judging the more than 5 teams’ efforts based on the designs, each team will execute their designs at their home schools and time-stamped video will be submitted along with images of the final rendering. The visiting artist Chris Fry was on hand and did discuss his work and techniques with some other saddest who were on hand. He also created his own design on the street.  


New space is at the center of BGSU’s fight against sexual assault

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Protests in spring, 2017 against the way Bowling Green State University handles sexual assault are bearing fruit. That was evident Wednesday night during a reception to mark the opening of the Center for Women and Gender Equity in Hayes Hall. The center was formerly called the Women’s Center and located in Hanna Hall.  With the retirement last year of its founding director Mary Krueger, the future of the center founded 20 years ago seemed uncertain. Then a female student came forward and made public her experience first being raped and then the way her report of her assault was handled by the university. In response, then BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey created a task force on sexual violence.  The task force met over summer, 2017. Faculty member Maureen Wilson, one of three co-chairs of the group, said Wednesday that the group released a lengthy report with many recommendations. Mazey accepted all those recommendations. The result was the hiring of a new full-time director, Angela Clark-Taylor, and a new Title IX officer Jennifer McCary, who serves as an assistant vice president for student affairs. The new center is more than the women’s center with a new name and location. The new space is adjacent to the Violence Prevention Center that Clark-Taylor co-directs with Faith DeNardo, the director of the Wellness Center. This is an auspicious pairing, Clark-Taylor said. “Now you can access those services all in one space.” The new Center for Women and Gender Equity has a small conference room, a lounge, a smaller space that can be used for private counseling or mothers needing a place to breastfeed their babies as well as office space. Clark-Taylor said that in addition to maintaining the programming aimed at grad students, faculty and the community, the center will expand its programming for undergraduates. That will include a Friday reading group, and training on philanthropy, political action, and leadership. The new name, Taylor-Clark said, doesn’t reflect a change in the center’s mission, but a recognition of what it was at the beginning. “We want to work with everyone around gender identity issues,” she said. That includes everyone who identifies as female or male. McCary urged faculty attending the reception to consider collaborating with the center to present programs. Reporting acts of sexual violence is important — just that day faculty received notification that they are mandatory reporters….


BG school task forces start search for solutions

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green task force members put their first drops of sweat equity into the future of their school district Tuesday evening. They gathered in the hot high school cafeteria to take the initial steps toward a school building solution that two bond issue attempts failed to solve. “This is a great opportunity for the community,” said David Conley, a financial consultant hired by the school district to help find a solution. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to restart the clock.” Approximately 130 citizens signed up to serve on two task forces – one focused on school facilities, the other on school finances. When done with their work, the task forces will make recommendations to the school board of how to proceed on building issues. “You drive the train on this,” Conley said. “You can conclude that there’s no need for anything.” To help the facilities task force decide the future of Bowling Green school buildings, Conley introduced three members of Fanning Howey, a firm of architects, engineers, planners and former school administrators who specialize in schools. The firm has assisted more than 100 Ohio school districts, including Eastwood, North Baltimore and Northwood in Wood County. Three members of the firm are volunteering their time to work with the Bowling Green facilities task force. Architects Steve Wilczynski and Dan Obrynba, plus former school superintendent Tim Hamilton made their pitch to the citizens. Some citizens expressed skepticism about the firm’s motives for volunteering. Obrynba explained that this is the first time for them to volunteer on a job – however, he added that if they do a good job, they will have earned themselves a chance to work on whatever building project the district decides is right for Bowling Green. Others questioned their objectivity when it comes to deciding on renovating old buildings versus constructing new ones. Hamilton said he has been involved with the whole gambit – from fixing up and adding on, to full renovations and building new. Wilczynski estimated 60 to 65 percent of the firm’s work is new buildings, with 35 to 40 percent being renovations. “The reality is, it’s your solution,” Obrynba said. The three men said they approach each project with open minds. “We’ve not intentionally tried to find out a lot about your school district,” Wilczynski said. The task force process will work like this – the group…


BG school board talks open minds and meeting times

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Meeting times and mindsets were discussed Tuesday by the Bowling Green Board of Education. Superintendent Francis Scruci suggested that those citizens attending the first school task forces meeting should leave any negativity at the door. “There are no longer ‘yes’ people. There are no longer ‘no’ people,” Scruci said. “If you have preconceived ideas, my recommendation is – stay home.” The task forces will meet Aug. 28, at 7 p.m., in the high school cafeteria. More than 100 citizens have signed up to serve on two tasks forces looking at the school district’s future. The tasks forces will focus on school finances and on facilities. “You have to come with open minds and open ears,” Scruci said. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, board member Norm Geer made a motion that the time of school board meetings be changed from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. He suggested that the new time be tried as a trial run in September through December to see if it might allow more citizens to attend board meetings. “I’ve heard many people say the 5 o’clock time isn’t convenient for the general public,” Geer said. Board member Paul Walker said he believed the reasoning for the 5 p.m. meeting time was to make it easier for teachers and school administrators to attend. Geer noted the number of school staff in the audience over citizens present. Board member Bill Clifford said he had also heard from community members who liked the earlier meeting time. “We’ve had a large contingency at the 5 o’clock meetings,” though not at this Tuesday’s meeting, Clifford said. Board member Ginny Stewart said she understands the request for a 6 p.m. meeting time. However, she also noted that teachers and administrators get early starts and late meetings lead to very long days. But Stewart also said that community attendance is important. Board President Jill Carr suggested that the matter be tabled till the next board meeting, so board members can get more input from the public and so the matter can be placed on the agenda for discussion. The board voted in favor of tabling the motion, except for Clifford.


Two decades after their launch, learning communities continue to thrive

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In a few weeks, the residents of the Chapman Learning Community will help put up the beams, joists, and deck work for the first Habitat for Humanity homes built in Bowling Green. Twenty-one years ago, Tom Klein and Brett Holden were among the faculty members who framed out the concept for the Chapman Learning Community, the first learning community at Bowling Green State University. Holden, who now directs Chapman and oversees all learning community network on campus, said that 1,430 students this year will reside in Learning Communities. That’s about a quarter of all students who live on campus. Many of the communities are experiencing growth. Chapman, which is located in Kohl Hall along with four other learning communities, has about 70 students, down from a “zenith” of 300. That was too many, the director said. Since that first chain of calls was made from then President Sidney Ribeau, who had $250,000 in funding to back the idea, to Sue Crawford, dean of continuing education, to Klein to Holden to Ricketts and more, the concept has taken hold at BGSU. Holden remembers those heady early days. “We were laying the asphalt as fast as we could walk on it.” Those efforts have paid off.  President Rodney Rogers said the university has earned national recognition for its learning communities. Chapman spawned the Health Science residential community, which has evolved into the Natural and Health Science Community. Then came the community for education majors, now known as Educators in Context and Community. Then more sprouted up for arts students, music majors, Army ROTC, construction management, Global Village, French and Spanish language communities and more. BGSU now boasts 22, including a couple that are still in the pilot stage. Some are focused on particular majors, while others are open to students in all disciplines. Some require students to live within a certain dorm, for others that’s optional. The arrangement brings together students’ living arrangements and academic pursuits, and service to the local and global community – trips to Peru and New Zealand are planned for winter session. That’s the basis on which Chapman was founded and one of its attractions. Evelyn Maciejewski, a sophomore at Chapman, said she joined last year, because it seemed a natural extension of the leadership activities as a Girl Scouts and in 4-H. The learning communities, though, also address some basic concerns…


BG Schools losing teachers due to low salaries

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools is starting the school year with 25 new teachers. During their exit interviews, many of the experienced teachers said they were leaving due to the low pay. That is raising troubling red flags, Superintendent Francis Scruci said Tuesday during the monthly school board meeting. “We have teachers leaving us because they can make more money someplace else,” he said. Scruci referred to a recent story in the Toledo Blade about area school salaries for 12 districts in Wood and Lucas counties. With the average teacher salary in Ohio being $58,849, only Bowling Green and Toledo City Schools were below that average. According to information from the Ohio Department of Education, the state median salary for teachers is $56,117. The median salaries at school districts in Wood County are as follows: Rossford: $75,766 Perrysburg: $60,412 Eastwood: $59,523 Otsego: $58,221 Northwood: $53,186 Lake: $50,544 Elmwood: $50,134 Bowling Green: $48,843 North Baltimore: $39,668 While Scruci said he is pleased with the 25 new teachers hired for this school year, he is concerned about the loss of quality experienced staff. The district relies on consistency in its teaching to continue improving the state report card grades. When the district loses seasoned staff, it loses the investment made in those teachers and then has to start from scratch with new staff. “If we start over with 25 new faces every year,” it will be difficult to keep making consistent improvements on state report cards, he said. “If that happens every year, we’re in trouble.” Scruci warned that raising BG salaries will require an increase in operating funds. The district is going into negotiations this year with staff, he said. Scruci also mentioned some troubling trends that could worsen the teacher attraction and retention issue. Nationwide a teacher shortage is being predicted. So low salaries will make it even more difficult to attract and retain good teachers. “If you’re not paying, they’re not coming,” he said. The shortage has already hit some areas in the western U.S. Some of those districts have been hiring people without education degrees to teach, and others are going to four-day school weeks to save on costs. Todd Sayler, a parent at the school board meeting, said Bowling Green’s low ranking in the teacher pay numbers in the paper was “very shocking.” Sayler talked about the value of keeping…